Trends Changing Site And Network Navigation

    January 14, 2008

Fifty-seven percent of online users navigate their favorite sites from the home page, top sites report two-thirds of the traffic they receive arrives deep within the site from search engines according to a new report from JupiterResearch, "Site and Network Navigation: Trends Force New Paradigm."

Conventional wisdom has directed content programmers to focus attention on using home pages to influence how users navigate through Web site, the success of keyword search is forcing resources to be reallocated away from home page programming to landing page and network programming.

Jupiter Research

JupiterResearch believes that content and media companies should adopt techniques from news sites, which are ahead of most other sites in adapting to these trends. Once on a page, many older tactics still work (e.g., visual cueing, promoting popular and related content), and each can increase content click-through by a percentage point or two.

"Such trends as social media, website deconstruction, and broadband crossover are dictating a new site navigation and programming paradigm that is promotional and page-centric," said David Card, Vice President and Research Director at JupiterResearch.

"Site programmers must blend promotion with navigation. In fact, promotion becomes navigation, especially if it incorporates users’ input and participation via tactics like ‘most popular’ lists."

The report says the "perfect" content page design should dedicate more screen real estate (40 percent to 50 percent) to the combination of navigation and promotion than to the content or story itself (20 percent to 30 percent). Along with user-generated content (10 percent to 15 percent) and advertising (15 percent to 20 percent.

"The Web is the vanguard of media fragmentation," said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch. "Content programmers have to embrace this phenomenon if they hope to retain some influence over whether, where and how consumers consume and interact with their content."